Meeting the challenges of deputyship during lockdown
As we reach the end of the seventh week in lockdown, and the media is full of eager reports about how we might get back to normal, I thought I would reflect on how Wrigleys has managed in this period. Our clients lives have not stopped because of the lockdown and a range of challenges have had to be faced.
In the first week of lockdown the team moved to working remotely from home. We are able to log on to the work system to view our cases and use the work phones too. This has really helped us to keep our matters moving. We have all got to grips with new technology, from meeting with clients via whatsapp video, to team meetings on zoom and talking to judges on skype for business we have used a huge range of new applications to get our jobs done. I have been delighted that our clients have responded so positively to the changes we have had to make, and it has been fantastic to know that we can still play our part despite the circumstances. I have learnt however that no video call is ever as good as a real face to face visit for really understanding my clients and their families. I cannot wait for the day that it is safe to go out to visit people again, to sit down over a cup of tea and admire a newly adapted home, or ask how a care team is working.
Care teams have been hugely affected by the lockdown and the restrictions around going in to see the people they support. Where care is driven by a medical team we have been humbled by the dedication of workers continuing to provide excellent care for our clients throughout this difficult period. For those who live in the community and have more social support type needs we have been amazed by the creativity with which carers, case mangers and care agencies have met the challenge for each client. For many support has been provided via phone and text, by socially distanced visits to drop off essential groceries and provide advice. As deputies we appreciate the efforts that care staff have gone to and continue to make so that our clients’ lives still run as smoothly as possible.
The Court of Protection has responded rapidly to the many challenges presented. I am proud to serve on the Vice President’s Hive committee helping to co-ordinate the response. In urgent health and welfare cases remote hearings have gone ahead and in property and affairs a pilot has just launched trialling the electronic submission of applications. Further developments are anticipated as we all continue to embrace digital solutions.
For our clients, who are often especially vulnerable it may be some time before we can safely get back to visiting to advise and support. Until then we are striving to find new ways to carry out our duties and provide the service that our clients deserve. If you have any problems with being a deputy, or making an application to the Court of Protection we are here ready to help.